mean genes guitar chronicles

Gone Gear

Hopefully not many of you have had to deal with this, and hopefully you never will, but there comes a time when a select group of us find ourselves the

Hopefully not many of you have had to deal with this, and hopefully you never will, but there comes a time when a select group of us find ourselves the victims of gear theft. For me, it was a first, even though I have been actively playing live since I was 15 years old.

On this particular night I was called up at the last minute, due to the originally slated act canceling because of car troubles. I jumped at the opportunity, as I don’t mind earning an extra $100 for a gig just a few blocks from home – three to four hours of music and my gas tank is filled back up. I had played the place numerous times and felt very comfortable performing there. I travel pretty light, toting my acoustic amp/PA, a Martin Jumbo and a 12-string Ovation, along with mics, stands and all of my other performance gear, so it was really no problem to help out at the last second.

Following the gig, I loaded up my gear into my parked truck, only feet from the main entry. I walked back inside to pick up my payment from the bartender, but it seemed that he was momentarily busy, so I sat down with a friend of mine and struck up a conversation. A few minutes later I remembered that I had left my truck unlocked. Heading outside, I looked into the back of my truck, only to find an empty space where my brand new Ovation 12-string guitar had been. I had bought it only three weeks earlier, and had been digging the expansive acoustic tones it produced. A USA model 2751 LX-4 from Lightning Joe’s Guitar Heaven, I had scouted out about a dozen various makes before settling on serial number #593993. The silver lining was that they left my Martin Jumbo – I would have been even more heartbroken had my trusty six-shooter taken flight.

Mean Gene''s Guitar Chronicles Instead of heading home for some muchneeded shuteye, I found myself waiting around for another hour to file a police report. I soon realized that I had potentially four avenues for recovering my stolen instrument: insurance coverage on the credit card used to buy the instrument, my homeowner’s insurance, my auto insurance and my business insurance. I quickly found out that my auto policy was limited to what is actually attached to the vehicle, and my homeowner’s policy had a $1000 deductible for a claim – the purchase price was only $1299, and I reasoned that it wasn’t worth kicking the beehive for a measly $299. My credit card company refused to comment on If the purchase would be covered, and said that the process would require a variety of documents to be sent back and forth if it was to be pursued. I finally received a positive response from The Hartford, my business insurance company, and they informed me that I could file a claim for off-the-premises property with a $250 deductible.

Insuring your gear its well worth the homework – you’ll find out how much coverage you currently have, as well as how much coverage you need, so that you won’t have to keep making payments on an instrument you no longer have. Companies like Clarion Associates Inc. specialize in musical instrument protection (call 1-800-VIVALDI for a quote), and you can also find insurance through retailers like Musician’s Friend. These companies will pay you directly for any shipping damage, accidental damage or theft, but if you already have a renter’s or homeowner’s policy, a simple phone call to your agent will answer any questions you may have about the need for specialized insurance.

Of course, sometimes you just have to take your guitar’s safety into your own hands – I often install small microchips into the instruments we build, known as RFIDs (Radio Frequency Identification Device). This process embeds a serial number inside the object and can only be identified with a special scanner. They basically add proof of ownership that can be helpful without your presence. See snagg.com for more information; kits are available through stewmac.com. Technology has advanced so much within the last few years – cell phones can be traced to locations and everything is becoming increasingly wireless – that it will be interesting to see what advances in personal security take place. Perhaps it will be possible one day for your stolen guitar to call you and tell you where it’s at.

So make sure you take the steps to protect your gear – keep receipts of your gear purchases on file, submit any warranty information to the manufacturer and take the extra second to lock up your vehicle, even if you’re only going to be gone for “a few minutes.” If you have nice gear that isn’t easily replaced, you may want to consider contacting a dedicated instrument insurance agency for a quote, and keep records and photographs of the instrument on file – if nothing else, these will make it easier to create a flier to plaster around town. If you do become the victim of gear theft, make sure to file a police report as soon as possible. Notify all of the music stores and pawnshops in the area, and check eBay and Craig’s List to see if it has been listed. If you’re lucky, perhaps that wayward bird will find its way home.




Gene Baker
Any questions or comments visit
www.finetunedinstruments.com
www.meangene.org
email me at b3gene@verizon.net
Fine Tuned Instruments LLC, home of his “b3” instruments.

When building guitars there are many tools you just can’t find on the market to help organize, maneuver and protect your pieces during construction. If you’re resourceful you’ll find ways to build them or call upon the aid of a friend.


When building guitars there are many tools you just can’t find on the market to help organize, maneuver and protect your pieces during construction. If you’re resourceful you’ll find ways to build them or call upon the aid of a friend. The way I see it, a woodshop can’t survive without a metal shop so I called upon buddy Scott Leube, a master of many talents of SGL Guitars in Santa Maria, CA. He’s been known to say, “If you can draw it, I can build it.” Together we designed a variety of tools that we weren’t finding on the market or for an affordable price. This month we’ll take a look at a few of these tools that can really aid a guitar builder or workshop.



Mene Gene The Rotary Rack
The rotary rack helps during grain filling, painting and detailing, allowing you to rotate the instrument 360 degrees in two planes. It features a steering wheel and handrail to rotate your work easily.
Mene Gene The Mobile Rack
The mobile rack is for organizing while in the spray booth, during drying, or prep stages. Different handles can be made to accommodate bolt-on necks and bodies or acoustic guitars.
Mene Gene The Buffing Stand
You can buy buffing arbor kits from places such as stewmac.com or grizzly.com – an online machinery outlet – but no one has a stand available. This stand is built to house a 1.5 HP motor you can find at Harbor Freight or Grizzly with the available arbor kits.
Mene Gene The Guitar Rack
The guitar rack is used for everything from raw wood, sanding and final assembly. It is extremely sturdy and mobile.
Mene Gene The Glue Rack
This medieval-looking contraption features standard ¾” black pipe clamps mounted onto the rack for gluing up to 12 bodies or book-matched tops per glue cycle.


Well, that about does our look at some of the handy inventions Scott and I have put together to make life in the workshop a little easier. If you’d like more info, contact SGL Guitars in Santa Maria, CA at 805-714- 0576. We’ll see you next month.




Gene Baker
Any questions or comments visit
www.finetunedinstruments.com
www.meangene.org
email me at b3gene@verizon.net
Fine Tuned Instruments LLC, home of his “b3” instruments.

I prefer amps in a dry/wet configuration, allowing amp #1 to be unaffected and amp #2 to get all the effects, with its tone signal generated from amp #1


Mene Gene As many of you can confirm, we’re always on a quest for the ultimate tone, checking out all possible leads, from new modern to vintage old-school gear. I’ve had the pleasure to work along side some pretty amazing players and the people that build the gear – Brian at Top Hat amps, Mike and Bill at the Soldano factory, Victor at Mojave Ampworks and Bruce Egnater, just to name a few.

This brings us to Jeff Aragaki, a friend of ours that has started up his own line of amps, dubbed ARACOM Amplifiers (aracom-amps.com), who frequently borrows me for ears, ideas and picking. He’s built up a small army of amps ranging from 6 watts to 50 watts, all Marshallbased, and left a few around for us to utilize every way possible. Every ARACOM amp sampling just gets better and better, to the point where I had to put them to the test and give his amps a real workout.

He’s making non-master volume type amps that break up nicely at bar levels, which nails the tone for blues and classic rock tunes. However, for the big gain and modern rock to vintage metal tunes our band covers, I knew I would need to rely on an effect pedal board. So I set off on an eBay GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) attack, picking up a Lexicon MPX G2 effects unit and matching R1 floor control which closely resembles the Line 6, allowing you to get inside a program and turn any effect on or off without leaving the patch. The G2 features front end and post preamp-based effects, so it’s just like using a variety of pedals like wah, compressor, EQ, to any type gain pedal, all placed in front of the amp with delay and modulation effects placed post preamp.

Mene Gene I prefer amps in a dry/wet configuration, allowing amp #1 to be unaffected and amp #2 to get all the effects, with its tone signal generated from amp #1. With Jeff and his ARACOM Amplifiers onboard, plus the addition of the Lexicon MPX G2, the tone started growing. The guitar plugs direct into the G2 input to access its front end pedals, then returns to the input of amp #1, using the ARACOM 50-watt as the main head. A line out from amp #1 is plugged into the G2 Post Preamp Input, with the Main Output returned into the ARACOM 18-watter as the wet head. The two heads plug into one stereo Marshall 4x12, dry on the left, wet on the right, creating a beautiful stereo image once you fire up a nice delay or chorus.

In most cases your second amp will get the effected signal fed into the return of the effects loop – in this case, amp #2 is a non-master volume model with no loop, so plugging into the front end works great and allows you added tone control flexibility that isn’t available in a Power In or Loop Return.

Mene Gene Also, on a quick side note, a simple rule with multiple amps usually requires you to lift the ground on the second amp with the aid of a three to two prong wall outlet adapter. Just let your ears listen for any noise – add or remove lift adapters until the noise is gone.

Hope the article spurs you to plug a few things in and try out some different things. As for Jeff and ARACOM Amplifiers, just keep your ears open for the new guy coming out. It’s a great time to be a player with all the killer tube amps and modern technology infused out there. We’ll see ya next month.




Gene Baker
Any questions or comments visit
www.finetunedinstruments.com
www.meangene.org
email me at b3gene@verizon.net
Fine Tuned Instruments LLC, home of his “b3” instruments.
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